Last year was the 2nd snowiest year on record Spokane (NWS-OTX) the snowiest year EVER in Coer D’ Alene Idaho….and we’re off on a good start this winter already (now 1 day old). Is this how the giant glacial lake Missoula got it’s start? Well, all geographical records (every 18,000 years and now we’re in year 17,998) aside~ Mother nature didn’t have to work THAT hard to really mess everything up in our little “corridor” last week as the snow started falling Wednesday, and by Thursday morning it was waist deep and we we’re officially “snowed in” at the home studios for the first time since 1994 for me, and that’s the 2nd time ever. It should be noted I did most of my 3,000,000 miles of driving in New England, so I thought I was pretty used to this stuff but when the snow is up over the floor boards there’s not much you can do. It did remind me of a “good ol’ Nor East-a” I have to admit, EVEN IF the water is on the wrong side of the map. At 23.4″, even the weather people were amazed at this RECORD 24-HOUR dumping mother nature had taken on the Inland-Northwest.
Wednesday I got out my snow car, the trusty Subaru 4×4 wagon. 270,000 miles on this ski machine, it has proudly, never let me down. I made plans to take “the Bat Route” the back way that keeps me away from freeway diversions and across the flattest, most open land, I know. (Which Ironically enough, takes me through “North Pole”, Idaho, and eventually over to Seltice and downtown CDA from there along the Spokane river). But this was not to be THIS day. About half-way into the ride, I started to notice my radio was getting fuzzy, then the headlights were like looking through sunglasses, then my wipers started running slower and slower. The ice was caking up on my window making it very hard to see anything. My Pilot’s instinct said “Charging system” so I radioed my mechanic and told him “I’m losing power, going to need to land”… or something like that, and within 10 miles my engine coughed and sputtered and I was forced to make an OFF_FIELD landing in a parking lot somewhere near Huetter. In the middle of the storm.
I made arrangements with the kind folks of CDA Polaris to leave it there until help could arrive, grabbed my “crash bag” and decided to trudge off in the direction of the station as I knew Beavis was fighting his way through traffic going the other way to come rescue me. My plan was to meet him a few miles up the road. ….about ½ mile later, shivering, snow in my sneakers, and fog steaming up my shades…I walked into Columbia Excavation headquarters “c-c-c-Could I sit in here for a minute, car broke down, waiting for a rid-dd-d-d-e” and they were very kind to me as well, heating me up and offering me phones and basic survival necessities. We engaged in long deep discussions about excavating and demolitions work, either of which I was considering should the tow truck not make it to pick my ride up.
But, within a few more minutes… Beavis was there, and off we went to do the show. Coming home Beavis handled the roads like a master (he is from Montana) and despite the traffic, we were home, safe and sound within three hours of leaving the “Bikini Island” studios.
The next morning, I awoke to see the snow was 16” out on the driveway. MY wife’s car has a 3” wheelbase. So that was that. The show WOULD NOT go on today. The boss called from South Hill (20”) saying he wasn’t going to be able to make it either. What would we do??? G.A. was on the radio having a snow party and said he’d stay on for however long it took to get somebody there, but having seen him do several radio marathons, I knew he was good for about 8-10 hours but would eventually need support when the radio-hallucinations start. A few phone calls were made and now enter OUR HERO, “Johnny Mac” in his monster 4×4, another former Montana boy who would brave the heart of the beast and trudge into the station to assist G.A. But better than that, he ws ready to assist ME in making the appropriate connections and board changes and low and behold~ I had now had a direct link to the out-of-control-tower from my home studios!!!!
So we did the entire show (extended coverage) from my house, in my PJ’s and relaying important information as it became available via the KXLY NEWS chat blog Mellisa Luck provided from the newsroom. It was awesome! We even did a few breaks outside in the snow to give everyone a better “feel” for how much we had in the S.C.C. area and interviewed the wife while shoveling us out (all six hours) and saw kids walking by that were just torsos “adrift” in a sea of white. But THE SHOW DID GO ON! A technological miracle and a moment in radio history I shall never forget. Not since doing the old local music show from “the basement” for those five years at my old station, have I had so much fun doing our thing from “the comfort” of our own home, so to speak.
I even video-documented the whole thing on the website for you, so you can see how we got it done… and as for my car, well, Good Ole Ralph at AA-pro towing finally got out there Saturday and said “I towed that snow pile, I THINK was your car” so we’ll have to wait and see what the mechanic finds once he digs through the 36” of snow covering those four wheels, last I saw it. But glad we made it through the best we could and what a great “welcome to winter / 2008-09” it was. Please be safe, and warm, sit close to your radio and we’ll fire it up for you…. We’re going to need it.
(see the video, posted HERE)